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  1. ITV Report

Islamic State's final fighters hold on in Baghouz as caliphate crumbles

As thousands flee what was once so-called Islamic State's so-called caliphate, the terror group's final fighters are holding on in the last stronghold of Baghouz, eastern Syria.

What remains of the first modern day caliphate is crumbling as Baghouz is pounded by artillery, while around tens of thousands flee the town.

Heavy gunfire could be heard as ITV News Correspondent Emma Murphy reported from the edge of so-called Islamic State's final territory to witness the terror group's final stand.

Truckloads of people are now leaving Islamic State's final territory Baghouz. Credit: ITV News

Their territory once extended to an area the size of Britain but it is now confined to a square mile in Baghouz - the same town British IS bride Shamima Begum had been living in before fleeing to a refugee camp.

Those left inside are coming under a sustained attack which is not expected to last much longer.

Evidence of the mass retreat can be seen in the hills where empty caves once offered sanctuary to so-called Islamic State fighters.

Thousands of people have left Baghouz, but where they will go next is unclear. Credit: ITV News

Among the rubble and left behind belongings were messages written in English and Arabic, warning fighters - some of whom travelled across the globe to get to Syria - of what was to come.

But even as the caliphate is slowly diminished, the terror group is not giving up without a fight.

Warnings which had been left for the final fighters could be seen discarded on the ground. Credit: ITV News

They have been leaving car bombs in and around the town, hoping to inflict final some final blows to the Kurdish and Syrian Democratic Forces.

As the problem of a caliphate fades away, another problem emerges; what to do with the 50,000 people loyal to so-called Islamic State who have nowhere to go?

As the case of Shamima Begum - the former Bethnal Green schoolgirl who travelled to Syria who has been stripped of her British citizenship and denied permission to return to the UK - proves, the answer is unclear.